We bought our house in February of 2016. From ratifying our contract to our closing date it was only about a month. The idea when we decided to buy was go through our stuff and purge so we didn’t bring anything we didn’t need with us. At that point I was 5.5 months pregnant and still nauseous daily so the idea of doing any of that was not appealing.
We were going from 1800 sq. ft. to a little over 3000 sq. ft. so we just decided to pack up all our crap and move everything. After all, we may use everything with the extra space, right? Wrong. Here we are almost a year and a half later and just started the purging process about a month ago. I’m a sentimental person so I hold on to dumb things. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m a hoarder but I find value in things that bring me memories. I consistently have to remind myself I still have those memories without the “stuff.”
Once I quit my job and started staying home I realized what chaos our house really was. To be here all day, every day, I felt the stress of all my things. Of the disorganization, of the material items bought to make me happy but really they were giving me anxiety. That first week home, I threw so much stuff away. I went through our hoards of papers and sorted through what we actually needed and what could be tossed.
What is interesting is that I’m not a materialistic person at all. I don’t always have to be on trend. I don’t place value in things. So why do I have so many of them? Honestly I still don’t know.
I started purging things on our main floor. The space we spend the most time, the space that we entertain. The logic behind that was that if it overwhelms me and brings me stress then that’s not the space I want to bring my guests into. I threw away a lot of knick knacks, which if you know me you know that I despise knick knacks. I think they are dumb and just take up space while collecting an obscene amount of dust. But you get them as gifts or you see something in a store and think ‘just one is okay,’ but then you end up with a hoard of them before you know it.
This past weekend we had a community yard sale so I dragged my husband to our basement storage room to go through all the boxes we’ve avoided since moving in over a year ago. So we found a lot of useful stuff that we decided to keep because we know we will get use out of them and they have a specific purpose but then we found so much we could sell. We also had a couch and loveseat set that was sitting in our dining room for the better part of 3 months that was just sucking the life out of our home.
We ended up selling quite a bit of our “junk” to include that couch set and made $575. Not too shabby for things we didn’t want or more importantly need. I hope those things bring joy to someone else’s life. To me, working towards minimalism is so important for a few reasons.
- As an anxious person by nature, having more stuff brings more anxiety. Purge and the stress in your mind lessens along with it.
- It helps me put value to my items and makes things easy. For example, I now have one raincoat and when it rains, I know what I am wearing because it has its purpose in my home.
- Improves quality of life because everything is being utilized. Instead of having 25 coffee mugs when I only use 3 in rotation with my dishwasher, I can purge a lot of those and having just a few extra for guests. I feel so much better about that.
I am by no means an expert on this topic and I’m guilty of still buying clothes for a specific occasion from time to time but I think making small changes as you go is the best way. You can’t change your perspective overnight on “things” and what they mean to you but you can start the process. Below are some things that have helped me with this.
- Do it in sections and understand that it is a long term process.
-Pick a room, floor in your house or topic as such clothes or papers and start there. If you do it little by little, I think you will be way more successful because you are slowly learning and retraining your mind that you can physically live and be happy with less stuff.
- Rather than eliminating completely, just trim things.
-For example, those coffee cups you still need but you don’t need AS many of them. If you decide later you are never going to drink coffee again then toss them.
- Be open-minded.
-It’s important to understand WHY there is value in owning less. For me it’s less stress. Know your reasons and then purge based on those reasons. If you know you have to move every year, heavy furniture or knick knacks don’t make that process easier. Be open minded and realistic.
- Do not think about the monetary value.
-This one was big for me. I am naturally a really frugal person and the idea of throwing things away or even donating I always think of what I paid for it, what I would pay if I needed it again. This completely inhibits the process and why it’s taken me so long to get to the place of wanting to do this. Remind yourself that things sitting in a box, unused 90% of the time lose their value the same way as getting rid of it. If it doesn’t get used or doesn’t bring value to your life, sell it, donate it or give it to a friend that needs it. I promise it will bring you joy and calm by not having it weighing you down.
Again, I am no expert on this subject and really only in the beginning phases of the whole process but in what little headway we have made thus far, I feel the benefits. I feel less stressed in my own home, I feel better knowing other people can come to my home and not feel overwhelmed, besides by all the baby toys which just is what it is right now. And I also find joy in knowing the things that no longer added value to my life may be bringing value to others. I’d say that is a win-win. Now maybe I should go purge my t-shirt drawer.